Tech Trek is a week-long science and math camp designed to develop interest, excitement, and self-confidence in young women who will enter eighth grade in the fall. It features hands-on activities in math, science, and related fields. Since the first camp at Stanford in 1998, AAUW-OML has sent 122 Lamorinda middle school girls to Tech Trek camp.
Tech Trek Camp in 2023 at Sonoma State University, July 23-28
The seven enthusiastic rising 8th grade girls who attended Tech Trek camp at Sonoma State University in July were honored at a reunion and reception on August 27. Evelyn Hollenberg and Thea Wilberts from Stanley Middle School, Ally Rogin and Sophie Westin from Orinda Intermediate School and Morgan Butler, Adelaide Chan and Vasilisa Pridatko from Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School shared their experiences with AAUW members and parents. The girls were delighted with their special experiences bonding with “like-minded girls” who love science and math and seeing their possible futures in a variety of STEM careers.
This year, core classes at camp included Engineering, Forensics, Botany, Robotics, and Chemistry. At camp, the girls learned the physics of hand-made cars, built and programmed robots, investigated a model crime scene, learned about plants and conducted chemistry experiments. They went on a field trip to the Sonoma Water Agency where they used microscopes to study aquatic invertebrates, visited a fish ladder and learned about how the Agency supplies groundwater to Sonoma. At professional women’s night, they asked many questions about the STEM careers of five professional women. They learned to solder and made flashlights. They were introduced to household budgeting during the “Bite of Reality” exercise. They learned about structural engineering and built creative structures using rolled up newspapers. It was a very full week of learning and fun!
All girls attend Tech Trek camp on scholarships provided by AAUW branches, working with participating middle schools in their area. Seventh grade science and/or math teachers at these schools recommend prospective candidates who then go through an extensive qualification process that includes an application, a written essay and a personal interview. Camp curriculum is targeted specifically at girls entering 8th grade.
The AAUW Orinda-Moraga-Lafayette Branch selects seventh grade girls who attend the three public intermediate schools – Orinda Intermediate School in Orinda, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School in Moraga, and Stanley Middle School in Lafayette. Girls who are invited to apply for the scholarships must be nominated by their teachers. Parents or girls may not nominate themselves or pay for the camp.
Each teacher is asked to nominate two or three girls from their math, science, electronics, robotics or computer classes, based on the following nomination criteria:
Interest in Math and Science
- Be passionate about math or science and be motivated to learn
- Have active listening skills
- Should have at least a B grade, but does not need to be the top student
- Be likely to benefit from this experience
- May have limited access to programs such as these
- Show an interest in learning new things
- Follow directions
- Participate in class discussions and is eager to learn
- Work well in group situations
- Show patience and persistence in task completion
- Show respect for, and cooperate with, teachers and other students
- Exhibit self-control with exemplary behavior
- Demonstrate responsibility and honesty
- Have confidence and willingness to try a challenging task
Girls who are nominated by their teachers are invited to submit an application and written essay for consideration by a team of AAUW-OML Branch members who conduct personal interviews with all applicants. All nominated girls who apply are eligible regardless of their disability, ethnicity, gender identity, national origin, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.
Words of Praise from Our Tech Trekkers:
“Tech Trek turned out to be a life-changing experience, fostering my interest in computer programming, astronomy and 3D art, as well as educating me about real-life experiences.”
“The highlight of my trip was being surrounded by girls just like me; girls who adore and are interested in science and math.”
“Tech Trek has already changed my perspective on the world and future careers. The subject that was most influential for me was my engineering core class. I loved creating cars.”
“For me, the professional women’s night was my favorite part. I loved hearing about all their careers and the different paths they took to get to where they are now. “
“This has truly been one of the most amazing experiences in my lifetime… This camp has helped me gain confidence of who I am as a person and that doesn’t come around every day.”
“My favorite part was star night because we got to see so many amazing things. I got so caught up in all of the fun that I ended up staying until eleven thirty!”
Looking for STEM activities, information about women in STEM and places to visit virtually? Here are some great resources on engineering, biology, math, space, computer science, and more for you to explore. We do not endorse any of these programs, but are providing the list as a resource for all out Tech Trek candidates, past and present.
Go to THIS WEBSITE for more information:
Virtual Tech Trek Camp in 2021 and 2022
These week-long camps were centered on a morning project-based robotics, engineering, coding class that met daily and resulted in a personalized creation by week’s end. After lunch, the campers heard from inspirational women for an hour, then participated in one or more 90-minute hands-on or interactive science, technology, engineering, and math workshops to encourage fun while learning. They could return for evening workshops which included a presentation on paths to STEM careers and a tour of a Tokomak (experimental machine to control the energy of fusion).
The Tech Trek Mission
Studies have shown that 68% of both boys and girls in fourth grade are naturally interested in science. But by eighth grade, this interest has dropped dramatically, especially for the girls.
That is why we feel it is important to support girls interested in science during the middle school years and to expose them to the careers available to women in science today. Many former Tech Trekkers, now in college or working, have told us that Tech Trek was one of the most influential personal or academic experiences of their middle school years. AAUW-CA research has shown that many Tech Trekkers have continued their studies in science and medicine in college, and the early campers are now pursuing their career goals in the STEM fields.
Please Donate to Support Scholarships to Tech Trek Camp
You can donate by:
- Sending a check with your donation to the Branch treasurer. Donations should be made out to the AAUW OML Community Outreach Fund. Please write “Tech Trek” on the memo line of the check. Send your check to: Marielle Boortz, AAUW OML Treasurer, PO Box 6705 Moraga CA 94556
- Making your donation on-line with your credit card using the DONATE link at top right of this page. (Enter TECH TREK on memo line)
Donations made to Tech Trek as part of the AAUW OML Community Outreach Fund are tax-deductible. The Fund is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, EIN 38-3837745.
Thank you for supporting these outstanding young women and fostering their knowledge and confidence to pursue their interest in STEM!